1. An inexplicably popular, somewhat dead but not really dead, fictional character
  2. Focus of an unlikely global con carried out by AMC

Usage Example: “Did you catch last night’s episode of that zombie show? A few humans fought a bunch of zombies. It was great.”

Background: Approximately five years ago, the world lost its collective brains, and decided that it loved zombies. The cable network AMC somehow convinced large numbers of seemingly normal adults that zombies are interesting. This caused highly-functioning people to dress up like zombies at parties and 5K races, for some reason.

Experts often debate whether dressing up like zombies or Star Wars characters is more depressing. So far, Star Wars has a small lead, but the zombies are beginning to catch up. When they finally do catch up to Star Wars, the zombies plan to eat the brains of Jar Jar Binks and Lando Calrissian first.

Curious George

  1. The world’s least successful helper monkey
  2. The high maintenance pet of a mentally imbalanced man
  3. A monkey obsessed with seeking revenge on his captor

Usage Example: “Why did the man with the yellow hat leave Curious George alone in a chocolate factory? Is he crazy? Hasn’t he ever seen I Love Lucy?”

Background: Curious George is the potty-trained, ex-con monkey pet of a mentally imbalanced man. This man, known only as “the man with the yellow hat,” always wears an all-yellow safari outfit, complete with a yellow tie and hat. He wears this outfit every day. The man’s choice of wardrobe is a symptom of his delusional belief that he is some kind of monkey-catching super hero in yellow.

The history of Curious George and his mentally imbalanced friend is meticulously recorded in multiple picture books, television shows and movies. A normal person might keep a journal of such events, but the flamboyant man in the yellow hat insisted that all records of his dealings with George be inscribed in picture books.

The man with the yellow hat captured George in a bag during an expedition to Africa. He promptly brought George back to America to serve as his pet/slave/surrogate child (as anyone would). Upon coming to the U.S., George quickly found himself in prison. However, his incarceration was short lived, as he promptly broke out, and began his campaign of revenge against his captor, as a fugitive.

George continued to get into trouble, but the man with the yellow hat is a patient crazy person. He never learns. He will often leave George alone (while he pretends to be a super hero) and ask him to stay out of trouble. However, the vengeful monkey will always cause trouble. He has single-handedly demolished stores, hospitals, restaurants, sporting events, zoos, etc. George commits massive acts of vandalism, grand theft and destruction of property, but since he makes Betsy smile, he avoids any charges. This is disturbing to George. He desperately wants to get the man in trouble for enslaving him, but he always manages to make some kid happy, so all trouble is avoided.

The man’s mental shortcomings are also exhibited in that he insists on treating George like a child. He buys him toys, has him sleep in a child’s bed, and even sends him to school. At one point, he even allowed his primate pet to take on a paper route.

The actions of Curious George and the man with the yellow hat are difficult to understand, unless you have a firm grasp on their history and mental condition.

ESPY Awards

  1. The only known way for professional athletes to gain public recognition and win awards
  2. A long-form commercial for a cable sports network

Usage Example: “Well, it came down to watching the ESPY Awards or an episode of Murder, She Wrote… I made the right choice. It was a good episode. Who would have thought that Jessica would catch Robert Culp by snooping around? ”

Background: Finally, the unappreciated toil of professional athletes can be rewarded. These rewards are distributed during an awkward, long-form ESPN commercial known as the ESPY Awards.

The ESPYs were created by ESPN executives who were working to find an effective way to use the egos of professional athletes to help propel their cable sports brand. The result of this work is a depressingly awful awards show.

Athletes had long lamented that they never had an opportunity to walk a red carpet at a self-congratulatory awards show. They also complained that the Manning brothers didn’t have nearly enough trophies.

ESPN executives shrewdly capitalized on these complaints. They gave athletes a red carpet, the Manning brothers a bunch of ridiculous trophies, and created a way for the athletes to get on stage and give semi-coherent, highly rehearsed, yet stunningly awkward speeches. Athletes loved it. Everyone else hated it. But since people love athletes, the public continues to pretend that the ESPYs are watchable and important.

Beauty Pageant

  1. Crazy plan hatched by drunken frat boys that somehow worked
  2. Annual event that somehow missed the whole “feminism” thing

Usage Example: “The Miss US American beauty pageant will air at 12:35am on the Spike3 channel.”

Background: It should have never worked. After a night of drinking, a group of frat boys decided that they wanted to hold an event in which they could gawk at beautiful women. They called this event a “beauty pageant”.

The beauty pageant would contain the following steps:

  1. Open with an awkwardly choreographed musical number. During this opening: -Each participant must wear a sash containing the name of her home state -Each participant must confidently strut to the front of the stage and frighteningly shout her name and home town, at the top of her lungs -Each participant must smile with an unnaturally enormous smile the entire time.
  2. Immediately after the opening number, heartlessly cut at least ½ of the participants.
  3. Force the remaining participants to individually walk around the stage in swimsuits and evening gowns.
  4. Heartlessly cut more participants.
  5. Some pageants contain a hilarious talent portion at this time.
  6. In order to add some legitimacy to the event, participants are forced to talk for a few seconds. If the participants fail to do well at the talking portion, they will be mocked forever on YouTube.
  7. The final two or three participants nervously hold hands, while the host calls out the name of the winner.
  8. The losers then act like they are happy for the winner, while the winner cries.
  9. A tiara is placed on the winner’s head. This tiara is later pawned for scholarship money.

There may be easier ways to obtain scholarship money, but no one knows about them.

In spite of the insanity of these events, beauty pageants have somehow survived for many years. Beauty pageants are held on an annual basis in such glamorous locations as Atlantic City, Shreveport and Reno.

History Channel

  1. American basic cable channel created to explain that all historical events were probably caused by aliens
  2. American basic cable channel created to teach history by focusing on the inner workings of a Las Vegas pawn shop

Usage Example: “I would watch the History Channel, but I’d like to learn something about history.”

Background: History Channel programming occasionally focuses on historical events. These historical events include the time Chumlee paid too much for fake Gibson guitar and how aliens were probably involved in Nazi Germany, the works of Leonardo da Vinci and everything else that ever happened.

History Channel investigative reporters dig deep into historical events, to decide how much of an impact aliens had on them. In schools, history textbooks only dedicate two or three chapters (at most) to aliens. The History Channel is doing a great service by dedicating approximately twenty hours each day to the topic.

It is also a very common practice for schools to teach history by studying annoying, family-owned pawn shops. The History Channel perfected this method by choosing a pawn shop run by the most annoying family, placed in the fakest situations.

In spite of all this, the History Channel isn’t all Pawn Stars and Ancient Aliens. It’s also Cajun Pawn Stars, Pawnography, and Hangar 1: The UFO Files… So, I guess the History Channel is all Pawn Stars and Ancient Aliens… with a side of Ax Men and American Pickers.

The Onion was right, the History Channel does repeat itself.

Fixer Upper

  1. HGTV program dedicated to advancing the cause of distressed furniture everywhere
  2. HGTV program with a hidden agenda to place huge clocks, old bottles/jars, rusty antiques, barn doors and distressed furniture into every house in America

Usage Example: “Did you see Fixer Upper last night? Chip and Joanna renovated an old Texas farmhouse. I love how they used distressed furniture, rusty antiques, barn doors, old bottles and jars, and enormous clocks.”

Background: Fixer Upper is a home renovation program on HGTV starring Chip and Joanna Gaines. Chip and Joanna renovate and decorate homes for their clients.

Joanna’s style is… a tad predictable. Viewers of Fixer Upper are encouraged to construct a bingo board with the following spaces:

  • Distressed Furniture – Distressed furniture is antique furniture that looks like it was dragged behind a pickup truck for 10 miles. Any well-painted antiques need to be heavily scuffed with sandpaper before they can be considered “distressed”. Chip and Joanna have been long-time supporters of the plight of distressed furniture:
  • Rusty Antiques – Beware. Chip and Joanna like placing rusty antiques in their renovations. Do you like riding bikes? You’ll probably end up with a rusty old bike hanging from your ceiling. If you enjoy working on large boats, do not hire Chip and Joanna Gaines.
  • Old Bottles and/or Jars
  • Enormous Clocks – Almost every renovation includes a huge clock somewhere.
  • Barn Doors – Barn doors are cool now. You should know that.
  • Chalkboards – Because… Chalkboards…
  • Huge Letters on the Wall
  • Window Boxes
  • Industrial Pot Faucet

While watching an episode of Fixer Upper, mark off each item that appears in a renovation. It’s an easy game. Everyone wins all the time.

Cable Company

  1. Entertainment delivery company that provides customers with ten channels they want, 200 channels they don’t want, and internet service that kind-of works most of the time
  2. Entertainment delivery company that constantly tells customers that their calls are important to them, but no one actually believes that statement

Usage Example: “The cable company is giving us 32 Starz channels free for three months. If we forget to cancel, it will only cost an addition $250 per month.”

Background: For most cable customers, the journey begins with a desire to watch ESPN, the Food Network, HGTV, AMC or their favorite politically-affiliated cable news channel. Prospective customers then contact their local monopoly cable company, and a bizarre shopping experience ensues.

If groceries were purchased like cable, the sale would look like this:

Customer: Hi, I’d like to buy this milk.

Salesman: OK, great! We are currently running an incredible promotion! You get the milk, eggs, Slim Jims, Doritos, corn meal, multi-colored mini marshmallows, a Swiffer, and a gallon of peanut oil for only $30 per month for the first 12 months.

Customer: I really only want the milk.

Salesman: We can’t just sell you the milk. We are giving you a great opportunity to get so much more! And you’ll get all of these groceries every month for the duration of your two year contract!

Customer: But… I won’t use the other groceries. And, two years is a long time…

Salesman: We are also willing to throw in six extra-large bags of dog food, free for 3 months.

Customer: But I don’t have a dog. And what happens after 3 months?

Salesman: It’s only an additional $60 per month! When would you like your grocery service to begin?

Customer: Well, I really want the milk, so I guess I’ll sign up.

Salesman: Great! A delivery technician will hopefully bring the groceries to your house sometime between Wednesday at 8:00am and Next Tuesday at 3:00pm.

And, after that exchange, the cable experience begins. Customers are repeatedly told that their calls are important to the cable companies, and the harsh reality of cable quickly sets in: for every ESPN or HBO, there are at least twenty Oxygens.

American Idol

  1. A long-running televised singing competition that has cycled through approximately 238,420 judges over its 379 year run
  2. The crazy uncle of the television world

Usage Example: “Isn’t Larry the Cable Guy a judge on American Idol this season?”

Background:  Fox has announced that 2016 will be the final year for the televised singing competition, American Idol. This announcement sent massive shock waves throughout the American public, who had no idea that American Idol was still on the air.  After checking the internet to confirm that American Idol was indeed still on the air, they resumed their normal activities.

Over its long, tedious run, American idol solidified its role as the crazy uncle of the television world. Throughout its first few years, American Idol was cool and different – like when your childish, unemployed uncle first came to crash on your parents couch for a few days. However, as time went on, it became increasingly pathetic. After its first few seasons, American Idol had lowered itself to eating Spaghetti-O’s out of the can and sleeping on the futon until 2:00 pm every day. It kept saying it was looking for work, but no one believed it. It started leaving laundry on the floor and clipping its toenails at the kitchen table. Everyone knew it was time for American Idol to go, but it just kept hanging around.

Eventually, everyone in the house started ignoring it. Feeling the cold shoulder, American Idol retreated to the basement where it played “Mike Tyson’s Punch Out!” all day long and subsisted on a diet of Funyuns and Rock Star energy drinks. Everyone forgot it was still there. Then, many years later, American Idol finally moves out, and hardly anyone notices.

We wish you the best American Idol. We hope your new job at Shoney’s helps you find yourself.

Food Network

  1. A large, televised recycling plant for infinite re-broadcast of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives episodes
  2. A large, televised recycling plant for ceaseless production of “new” shows featuring Bobby Flay, Alton Brown and/or Guy Fieri
  3. A large, televised recycling plant for cooking competition programs, that are basically just re-branded and slightly tweaked versions of Chopped or Iron Chef

Usage Example: “Did you see that amazing Jamaican restaurant on Diners, Drive Ins and Dives on the Food Network? No? It looked so good. It’s OK, that episode will air again at 10:30pm tonight, 1:30am tomorrow, 8:00pm tomorrow, 12:00am the day after that, 3:00pm on Saturday, 7:30pm on Tuesday and 8:00pm-10:00pm on Wednesday. You should check it out!”

Background: The Food Network is an American cable television network that is entirely dedicated to recycling. Other networks with a similar dedication to recycling include: History, TLC, Travel and A&E. However, the Food Network stands alone as the benchmark for recycling efficiency.

Not only does the Food Network replay its content, but it also develops slightly newish content that is almost indistinguishable from its current programing. They use the following formula to develop new programming:

  1. What type of program are you creating?
    1. Cooking competition
    2. Road trip visiting restaurants
  2. Is Bobby Flay, Alton Brown or Guy Fieri available?

That’s pretty much it. For example: Iron Chef became Iron Chef America, Chopped, Cutthroat Kitchen, Throwdown, Beat Bobby Flay, Guy’s Grocery Games, and a stunning number of cake and cupcake competitions – including (but certainly not limited to) the Spring Baking Championship.

It is rare to find a corporation so dedicated to recycling. The Food Network and its parent companies: Scripps Networks Interactive and the Tribune Cable Ventures Inc. should be commended.